Lewisham offers rate discounts for London Living Wage employers

Lewisham Council writes:

"We are offering a one-off discount to businesses of up to £5,000 on their business rates, if they become accredited London Living Wage employers in 2016–17.

"The level of discount you can get will depend on what type of organisation you are and the number of employees you have.

"For details click here."

One in four people working in this borough are paid less than the London Living Wage, so the issue of low pay is a sizable one.

The vast majority of Lewisham businesses and charities employ fewer than ten people and thus qualify for a £250 saving.

To claim the money, employers also have to go through a fair amount of administrative faff, including getting accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation, which costs £50. Private and public sector time alike will thus be eaten up in administration for a sum which may not be enough to nudge many employers in the right direction.

To boost the long-term earning potential of Lewisham residents, the Council might be better to protect its budgets for libraries, education and training, rather than spend limited resources on this sort of well-intentioned footling.


When Priscilla the (magic) Goose moves in it’s the start of a roller coaster ride of ups, downs, skulduggery (and lessons learned) for Mother Goose, her sons Jack and Billy and their friend Jill as they journey to Gooseland and the glittering court of Queen Gorbanza for the final showdown … and a fairytale ending.

Book here now.

Shower AFRIL with votes

 I'm a volunteer with Action For Refugees in Lewisham - a small charity working to relieve poverty and isolation among refugees and asylum seekers.

We help an average of 120 people in our local community each week - with education, family support services, and access to emergency supplies.

We have made an application for support from Aviva's Community Fund. With enough votes, we'll get £1,000 towards costs for our advice service, which will help keep it running so we can support more people.

The project is described here - please can BCers cast a vote for us.

The Ravensbourne Arms is closing

I had been giving Antic time to confirm or deny claims that Ladywell pub The Ravensbourne Arms was closing, but now a proper journalist has tweeted about it, I feel it's time to share the sad (but still unconfirmed) news.

The Ravensbourne is big and slightly out-of-the-way, but despite this, was regularly full, thanks to a bar team that was full of ideas and invention. Hopefully, the closure won't be permanent. It should certainly not be allowed to be redeveloped.

Antic do a great job of opening pubs, but being part of its stable must feel precarious, given how much chopping and changing the group does.

Fowl Mouths at Hopscotch

London Pop-ups reports:

Fowl Mouths' Japanese comfort food has found a new home. They'll be serving at Hopscotch Cafe Bar in Honor Oak for Thursday and Friday nights from Friday 28th October to Friday 16th December 2016, with all their classics on the menu, inc Kara-age Chicken, Slow Cooked Pork Belly, and their Katsu Curry.  Great news!

Full details here. Thanks to Paul for the heads-up.

Brockley on Deliveroo

Food delivery platform Deliveroo is about to launch a new Brockley section and has been on a hoovering spree in SE4, adding Noak, Salthouse Bottles and The Brockley Grill to its roster. These pages are not up and running to take orders yet, but the roll-out is happening on Friday.

Masala Wala was also canvassing opinion from Twitter about whether to go for it, with many followers raising concerns about the way it pays its people.

Are there any other locals you'd want to see added?

Lewisham's Caribbean Front Room

Goldsmiths writes:

From October 26-29, experience a unique installation at Lewisham Shopping Centre, recreating a 1970s Caribbean front room and a week of free live making and crafting workshops with Goldsmiths designer, Rose Sinclair.

The arrival of Caribbean women on the Windrush in 1948 started a new story about how textiles travel and how knowledge and culture is recorded, preserved and shared.

To celebrate Black History Month, explore the spaces and practices of Caribbean women and the textiles they displayed in the front room.

We really want to hear about your textiles stories. If you have ever been a member of a Dorcas society or Dorcas club, or see yourself as a modern Dorcas maker, share your memories with us. #21stCenturyDorcasMakers

Crafters and makers of all abilities welcome!

Details here

Brockley Christmas Market, December 17

The Brockley Christmas Market will return to Coulgate Street on Saturday, December 17th from 12pm-6pm.

Organised by the Brockley Cross Action Group, it will be the 10th annual event and the first since the street's makeover.

The cost of a stall is £60 and you can email brockleycrossactiongroup@gmail.com for an application form. The closing date for applications is November 17th The organisers are also looking for local musicians and performers who want to get involved, so drop them a line if you're interested.

The Allotment closes

Fresh produce store The Allotment is closing down after five years of heroic trading on New Cross Road. \After a spree of local openings, it's a pity to see a high-quality independent close.

Thunder & Lightning, Ladywell

The pop-up palace at 261 Lewisham High Street, PLACELadywell, has found another tenant.

Morgan writes:

I have been lucky enough to get one of the small retail units in the block next to the Italian deli at PLACELadywell.

Thunder & Lightning opened at the weekend and sells hand picked ladies vintage pieces and also cool kitsch UK made clothing and accessories not usually seen on the high street.

The other local businesses operating from here will include a florist, plus size ladies clothing, a dress maker / designer, someone selling African print fabric and jewellery, hand made skin care products, greeting cards, a local charity Daley Bread and a couple more to come!

I'm really happy and excited I now get to be involved in this project, which is a great platform for retail start ups and creative.

For Thunder & Lightning's website, click here.

Green is green: The Brockley Tree Fundraiser

Work by Isobel Kimberley will be shown during the event
We're organising a storytelling evening at Number 57 Loampit Hill to fundraise for the Brockley Society Tree Committee.

The event will feature ordinary people telling true stories. No notes, 5 mins. Must be your own story. Not compulsory to tell a story but you may find you want to...

Sunday 30th October 7pm Ticket price £15.

Includes Pintxo & Glass of wine from L’Oculto

Buy tickets at 57arts.co.uk

Also features Poet Bill Greenwell

There will also be an exhibition of tree drawings by Isobel Kimberley.

Pretty In Pink, November 12

Asda Lewisham opens

The new Asda store in Lewisham is now open.

Situated on the ground floor of Thurston Central, opposite Glassmill Leisure Centre it's a large format store, spread over 15,000 square feet and offering 100 car parking places.

Opening hours are 6am-11pm Monday to Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday.

Full disclosure: Asda is a client of mine.

Ladywell "best value in zone 3"

We haven't had a property porn story for a while, but here's The Evening Standard with a piece of research by estate agents Hamptons, who reckon that Ladywell is both the best value area in Zone 3 and had the fastest-rising property values in the last 12 months. They report:

George Quinn, sales manager at Mark Beaumont estate agents, says Ladywell has started attracting buyers from more expensive neighbours such as Brockley, which in turn is benefiting from the ripple of buyers out of Peckham.

“In the past we have been the poor relation, but we are only a stone’s throw from Brockley Village, we have got Hilly Fields Park — a lovely open space — and Ladywell is developing into quite a nice village with some good bars, a patisserie and a traditional butchers.”

Property in Ladywell is predominantly Victorian. You can expect to pay £400,000-£425,000 for a two-bedroom flat, and £675,000-£750,000 for a four-bedroom house.

With thanks to BC's poor relation, Ladywell Paul, who spotted it.

The London Migration Film Festival, November 11-13

London Migration Film Festival (LMFF) will take place over three days from 11-13 November, 2016 across two venues in southeast London, including Deptford Cinema and Buster Mantis.

Eight feature length films will be screened as part of the festival, along with a number of shorts. Between films there will be two panel discussions with academics, artists, practitioners and former immigration detainees. The discussions will explore, but not be limited to, themes raised by the films.

The festival will incorporate musicians, including Kokoroko, Djanan Turan, Lili Caseley, Noga Ritter, and Alvorada, as well as DJs from Dance for Refuge and DJ Blonde Zilla. On top of that, there will be workshops, a networking brunch, and platforms for dialogue.

Any revenue raised through the festival will be used to support Akwaaba, a small charity providing weekend drop-in and advice services to refugees and migrants in Hackney, London.

Migration is often relegated into the corners of the film industry, with films that solely focus on negative experience of displacement. The aim of LMFF is to portray the diversity, nuance and subjective experience within migration - in order to restore the dignity and humanity inherent within it.

For contact details and more information about LMFF, visit their Facebook page here.

Ladywell Loves Pasta

The first businesses have started moving in to Ladywell's new mixed-use development, the irritatingly-named PLACELadywell, 261 Lewisham High Street.

Among the first is Italian deli, We Love Pasta, a fresh pasta specialist.

Thanks to Paul for the tip-off.

Foxcroft: Why I spoke about the loss of my daughter

Last week, during Baby Loss Awareness Week, Brockley MP Vicky Foxcroft delivered a moving speech in the Commons, talking about the loss of her own daughter, Veronica.

Now, in an article for The Guardian, Vicky has written about the motivation for her speech. She says:

"In contemplating [my] decision, I struggled with whether I was able to do this and what I could achieve by sharing my personal experience of how I lost my little girl, Veronica, at five days old. I knew that this was an opportunity for those also affected by similar losses to commemorate their babies, and to raise awareness of how many babies’ lives are lost. In 2014, there were 3,254 stillbirths and 2,689 infants’ deaths in England and Wales. For a country as well developed as ours these numbers are shocking...

"Teenage mothers have three times the rate of postnatal depression and a higher risk of poor mental health for three years after the birth. In my constituency, Lewisham Deptford, bereavement counselling has a waiting list of up to four months. This isn’t good enough."

You can read the full article here.

Lewisham consults on two possible traveller locations

In keeping with a trend spotted by The Economist a while back, the Council is seeking to shove the problem to its borders. Lewisham Council writes:

"Lewisham Council is preparing a planning policy document called the Gypsy and Traveller Site(s) Local Plan. It will identify a site to meet the local accommodation needs of the borough’s travelling community.

"We have found that the travelling community needs at least six pitches in the borough over the next 15 years. Following our consultation in March/April 2016 on site search parameters and criteria for assessing sites, we are seeking feedback on two potential locations for a new residential site. Only one of these sites will be needed.

"The sites we are looking at are:

"New Cross Social Club and adjoining land in Hornshay Street, New Cross, SE15 1HB
Land next to Pool Court, Catford, SE6

"It’s important that we get your comments and suggestions about these sites. We will take into account your views when we make our final selection. You can comment until Wednesday 30 November 2016.

"To tell us what you think, please read the on-line consultation documents and then complete a short survey. www.lewisham.gov.uk/travellingcommunity"

The Catford Cap

Four years ago, BC discovered that Catford and the Antarctic share more than just an inhospitable nature, they are linked by the fact that one of Scott's Antarctic crew, Captain William Colbeck lived on Inchmery Road. Now, Lewisham Council has erected a plaque at his old house, to commemorate the fact.

Colbeck's career included a year in the Antarctic with the Southern Cross expedition (1898-1900) and a successful rescue mission for Scott's ship, the Discovery in 1904, which he helped to blast free of the ice.

The plaque was funded by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) and the Culverley Green Residents’ Association. It was unveiled by Dr Kevin Fewster, Director of the National Maritime

The John Stainer Christmas Market, December 10

Edward writes:

This year John Stainer School will be running a Community Christmas Market, where we hope to showcase all the arts, crafts and wares that local artists and businesses have to offer.

There will be everything from mince pies and hot chocolate to Christmas carols and a Santa's Grotto.

We would love for local businesses, artists and stallholders who would be interested in hiring a table at the event, to contact Sarah Harrison at John Stainer School, via email on sharrison27.209@lgflmail.org for further details and a booking form no later than 15th November.

The Crofton Park Neighbourhood Plan presentation today

Kay, from the HopCroft Forum team writes:

We are pleased to announce the launch of our draft Neighbourhood Plan this Saturday 15th October 2016. We will be at Crofton Park Library between 10.30-12.30 if you'd like to come find out more about it.

Here's the timeline:

Oct 2016 – Jan 2017: Consultation on the draft neighbourhood plan. Your chance to say whether we have captured what you told us and whether there are any gaps. Once we've submitted the final version there is no going back!

Jan 2017 – Mar 2017: Finalisation of full pre-submission version. We will take all the comments from the consultation and work on finalising the draft to form what's termed the 'pre-submission draft'. This goes to Lewisham Council for consideration and for running the formal public statutory consultation.

Mar 2017 – Apr 2017: Statutory public consultation. This formal consultation runs for 6 weeks for your further comments; we hope by this stage, we would have sorted all the gaps and so there won't be any surprises!

Summer 2017: Referendum.  For your vote to pass it as local policy

TfL plan to take control of South London trains includes new Brockley hub

TfL's vision for its expanded empire
Mayor Khan today presented the Secretary of State for Transport with the business case for the further devolution of London’s suburban rail services to Transport for London (TfL) and a plan, which includes a potential interchange between Brockley Station and the upper line which has been earmarked to reopen as part of a new orbital rail service.

The plan sets out how a better integrated and more reliable suburban rail network would improve services for millions of passengers, many of whom are being severely let down by suburban rail services out of stations like London Bridge and Waterloo.

The principle of the further devolution of suburban rail services has already been agreed by the Government in a joint DfT/TfL prospectus in January 2016. The business case presented today sets out how further Rail devolution would also deliver substantial economic benefits, supporting the development of 80,000 new homes while remaining cost neutral to central government.

The business case states how rail infrastructure in south London has been under-utilised, with low levels of capacity, poor service provision and increasingly crowded services. The case explains how, working closely with partners, TfL could apply its experience of successfully running the London Underground and London Overground networks to substantially improve travel for millions of rail passengers.

Improvements TfL believe they can deliver include:

• More frequent services, including increasing services longer term between Orpington and Victoria from 6 trains to 8 trains an hour, and trains from Bexleyheath to London from 7 trains to 9 trains per hour  
• Integrated fares and ticketing, with any freeze in TfL fares also being applied to devolved rail routes within London.
• Cleaner, refurbished and safer stations with all day staffing, turn up and go services for those with accessibility needs, and more reliable trains
• Installing more ticket gates, introducing Oyster and contactless payment where they’re not already available, and providing more or better ticket machines

The biggest impact of this would be in south London where house building rates are less than half the rest of London due to poorer transport connections.

The plan proposes the "provision of a new interchange facility at Brockley between Southeastern, Southern and London Overground services to enhance network flexibility and the additional journey opportunities this provides."

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:
“For too long, London’s rail commuters have been getting a bad service – with nightmare delays, cancellations and overcrowding increasingly the norm on our suburban rail routes. Today’s business case sets out in detail the huge benefits Londoners will feel from devolving suburban rail routes to TfL. Our plans will not only use TfL’s skills and expertise to improve the daily commute for millions of Londoners, but act as a catalyst for new jobs and homes in outer London."

PO Brox refurb

Sophie McGeevor elected as Brockley's new Councillor

Congratulations to Labour's Sophie McGeevor, is Brockley's new Councillor, replacing Alicia Kennedy.

On a turnout of 19.9%, the scores in yesterday's vote were as follows:

LAB: 48.0% (+8.1)
GRN: 25.4% (-3.6)
LDEM: 10.4% (+5.0)
CON: 7.9% (+0.3)
WEP: 7.0% (+7.0)
UKIP: 1.3% (-3.7)

Labour's Joyce Jacca was also elected in Evelyn Ward, which means that the party still has an unhealthy 53 out of 54 Council seats.

SoLo Craft Fair, December 10

Catherine writes:

The SoLo Craft Fair has already taken place across eight different locations and involved 150 creative traders. Now it's coming to Deptford.

It's an event designed to showcase all elements of creativity, an event which really has something for everyone no matter your age or interests.

With five events planned across South London pubs, shoppers will be able to meet all their Christmas needs, and take part in workshops such as a free ‘stitch and b*tch’ session, an ‘unlucky portrait dip’ with The London Drawing Group and a 'make your own terrarium session' with Make Good.

The upcoming markets include a Winter Wonderland  on December 10th at Buster Mantis, 11-5pm.

For details of our markets, click here

Fear is the mind killer

Caroline writes:

I am looking to interview young adults about their fear of crime in Lewisham and how it affects their use of space and behaviour. This is as part of my university dissertation.

I have already conducted some interviews including a policeman, a local councillor and community worker. I am looking to conduct 20-30 minute interviews via skype or in person in a public space like the library. If you are aged between 18 and 24 years old, live in Lewisham and are familiar with the central Lewisham area then I would be interested in interviewing you. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I can be contacted at carrieob94@hotmail.com

I’m local to the Lewisham area, growing up here and going to local schools. I attended Prendergast Hillyfields. I am currently at University studying Geography and am writing a dissertation on 18-24 year olds’ fear of crime in the Central Lewisham area.

Art in the Attic, October 16

This Sunday, the Brockley Art House (12 Montague Avenue) will open for a special event to celebrate the work of two South East London artists:

Alyson Hunter - photopolymer gravure printmaking of Bohemian Soho haunts
Caroline Wright - mixed media gestural abstracts based on old textiles from the V&A Collection

The Art House team says:

The Art in the Attic event is a pop-up gallery with intriguing zoned areas, where you can enjoy looking at art within this unusual building, relax, take your time, stand back and enjoy purchasing artwork that you feel comfortable with at prices that suit you.

For details, click here.

The Ladywell Christmas Market 2016

El writes:

Calling all potters, woodworkers, ceramicists and glassmakers! Ladywell Christmas Market is looking for you to sell your work at the market on Saturday 3rd December. We’d love to have you offer your beautiful items for sale as they make perfect Christmas gifts.

Ladywell Christmas Market attracts hundreds of people from SE13 and SE4. You’ll find more than the usual Christmas cheer at the market, with the sights and sounds of a traditional Christmas fair offering the best in seasonal produce, presents, treats and festive entertainment for the whole community.

If you are interested in having a stall please email stallsladywellxmas@yahoo.com for a booking form no later than 24th October.

The Masala Wala makeover

The Masala Wala refit has begun.

The Pakistani restaurant has been a smash hit since it opened in Brockley Cross last year. Now, they're refurbishing it to squeeze a little more seating room out of their tiny space and to enable them to offer pavement dining in the summer.

The Brockley Festival of Ideas

A festival of radical ideas organised by two local conservation groups might sound like a contradiction in terms, but BrocSoc and St John's Society have worked together to organise The Brockley Festival of Ideas, a free day of talks, loosely based on the theme of 'challenging power.'

The Momentum activist, Jackie Walker, recently suspended from the Labour Party for her comments about Holocaust Memorial Day, is among the guest speakers for some reason.

Click here for details.

Spanish Particular, October 20-22

Black Dynamite

Ladywell needs street art

Joe writes:

While most of Greater Brockley has benefited from the street art boom, Ladywell has been sadly neglected.

I have got permission from Network Rail to cover the walls under the bridge leading to Ladywell from Lewisham station on Elmira Street with street art.

I just need an artist to do the designs which then have to be signed off by network rail to ensure that they are non-offensive.

My initial thoughts were that the left hand side could perhaps say welcome to Ladywell (as I think it marks the ward boundary) and on the right hand side this way to Hilly Fields with an arrow pointing up the road maybe some trees, birds, etc. However, very open ideas from artists that might come forward.

If you're interested, or know someone who might be, please get in contact via Twitter.

Lewisham scraps free swimming for kids

On September 30th, a Lewisham Council-funded scheme that allowed under-16s in the borough to swim for free in the borough's pools, came to an end. The Council says:

"Because of ongoing government cuts, we can no longer afford to subsidise this scheme. Young people can still swim regularly with competitively priced swimming sessions across our five pools, or join a swimming club or swim school programme which may offer reduced prices.

"Free swimming for looked-after children and over-60s will continue."

Thank you to Joe for the news.

Jubilee Night Tube starts October 7

At last, a 3am trip to Canada Water is within our grasp. TFL says:

The Night Tube launches on the Jubilee line this week, on Friday 7 October, and will be running all night on Fridays and Saturdays.

There will be a train about every 10 minutes. Standard off-peak fares will be charged and Day Travelcards cover journeys made until 04.29 the next day. We have also extended some bus services to help meet increased demand for customers travelling to and from Night Tube stations.

The Night Tube is already running on the Victoria line and most of the Central line, between Ealing Broadway and Loughton/Hainault via Newbury Park, and will also launch on the Northern and Piccadilly lines this autumn.

For full details, please visit tfl.gov.uk/nighttube

Beecroft Band Night, October 7

Andy Hughes: A lone crusader in a dangerous world

Homer: I came to fight city hall. I want to shake things up, Patterson. Stir up some controversy, rattle a few cages.
- The Simpsons

The Conservatives' electoral machine is virtually non-existent in Lewisham. Tory candidate for the upcoming Brockley by-election, Andy Hughes is the only one of the contenders who got in touch directly and wrote his own announcement. Meanwhile, the local Tory Facebook page has only 25 followers. It does not bode well for his ambition to shake things up down at City Hall. However, he writes:

My name is Andy Hughes. I’m 34 and have lived in Lewisham for the past three years, having previously lived in and around London Bridge (where I still work). South East London has been my home for over a decade.

I decided to put myself forward as a candidate in this by-election to give the residents of Brockley a real alternative to yet another Labour councillor on a Labour dominated council. I intend to focus on local transport issues - putting pressure on Southern and South Eastern to improve rail services for frustrated residents, as well as push for the Bakerloo Line extension to become a reality.

I plan to help local businesses from inside the council, looking to cut red tape where possible. I also really want to support local education, to give the borough’s youngsters the best start in life.

As well as these local objectives, I want to provide a dissenting voice on the council, to ask difficult questions and hold both the Mayor and Cabinet to account. According to Lewisham Council’s website, there are fifty-three Labour councillors, and only one councillor from another party (who, according to the attendance records, has failed to attend all four Oversight and Scrutiny meetings this year).

This means that, since January this year, Labour were left to police themselves, with no one to challenge the actions of the Major or Cabinet of Lewisham. I don’t believe that is a healthy state of affairs for Brockley or Lewisham as a whole, and I would aim to provide some much needed scrutiny to the council chamber.

- The Brockley ward election takes place on October 13th.